Falling all over it…

I was about to write a post about how the Democratic Party’s use of super delegates seems to have a tendency to subvert the democratic process, but putting the real power to determine winners and losers into the hands of faithful party hacks. That’s the post I was going to write tonight. It’s such a nonsensical proposition that the story almost writes itself. It was supposed to be the low hanging fruit.

It was the low hanging fruit until the uproar caused when the general public found out that Colorado (along with several other jurisdictions) allocate delegates to the Republican National Convention by holding a state party convention rather than by having a caucus or voting in a primary election. There’s nothing technically wrong with that approach. It’s perfectly legal, but the optics of banner headlines screaming “no vote for Colorado GOP” just sucks up all the oxygen that would have been available for making fun of the Democrats “democratic” process.

The DNC responded to its misbegotten presidential candidates in the late 1960s and early 1970s (I’m looking at you Humphrey and McGovern) by creating super delegates to protect the vested interests of the party. Republicans have clearly devised their own methodology for ensuring their candidates pass whatever party purity test they want to concoct. Neither the super delegate nor the “no vote” option look appealing in the harsh light of extended scrutiny.

If it were up to me, primaries would be conducted across the country on the same day approximately six months before the general election… and the first candidate to begin their campaign more than 1 year from the date of the general would be summarily drawn and quartered, their head surmounted on pike at the foot of Capitol Hill, and the four quarters of his or her body sent off to the four corners of the country as a warning to others. Alas, such a mandate would undoubtedly be written off as a federal overreach into territory best left for the states and individual parties to deal with. Even if effectively and efficiently determining the will of the state party members isn’t really what we’re trying to accomplish, it feels like there must surely be a better way than the way we’re all falling over it this election year.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Fleeing to Canada. Despite the ferocity of your Facebook or Twitter conviction, face it, no one is actually going to move to Canada as a result of this week’s presidential election. Even if you did, you’d find a high tax rate, national health care, and an entire province that wants to break away and form its own country. So all you’d actually accomplish is swapping out one dysfunctional political system for another and paying a hefty moving bill for the privilege. Can we all give the hyperbole a rest and start talking about changes we can make here in the real world to start undoing the mess we’ve collectively made over the last 60-odd years?

2. Antique Technology. Using Internet Explorer 8 is pretty much like driving around in a 1979 Dodge Omni; sure it’s technically transportation, but its reliability is questionable and its style is pretty much non-existent. Like the idiot lights on out fictitious Omni, IE8 spends most of its time throwing up security certificate errors, blocking content, and generally making it unbearable to use for anything other than the most basic tasks… and even then it’s slow as Moses in a minefield. It’s always a comfort to know that here in the most technologically sophisticated arms of government, we insist on plodding along with antiques from the last decade. That’s a sure path to effectiveness and efficiency.

3. Mary Jane. If the people of the great state of Colorado want to toke up for recreational purposes, I say God bless. Given this country’s outstanding record of success at enforcing morality laws, my advice to the DEA is just let ‘em go. We can argue all night about pot being carcinogenic, addictive, a gateway to the wild world of opiates and other drugs, but I have a hard time seeing how it’s all that much different than cigarettes or alcohol. Regulate it, tax it, and then let the states decide how, when, and by whom it can be used. Carrying pot as a Schedule 1 narcotic, with heroin, meth, and LSD strikes me as dishing out a $1000 penalty for a $10 crime. In the grand scheme of shit that’s important, sorry, this just doesn’t make the cut for me.

Capacity…

I’m not much of a philosopher, but I know this isn’t the time for politics or posturing. It’s the time to come together, however briefly, and recognize that our country has been made the victim of a violent and bloody act of domestic terrorism. It’s made all the more tragic because the mass violence was delivered up at the hands of a fellow citizen. A West Wing episode titled “20 Hours in America” aired almost a decade ago, but it’s one of those hours of television that kind of sticks with you once you’ve seen it. Responding to a domestic terror attack on the campus of fictitious Kennison State University, President Bartlet offered what, for my money, is one of the best monologs in ever put on film. Given the events of the day, I found it more appropriate than any and words I could come up with on my own.

So without further introduction, I give you President Bartlet:

More than any time in recent history, America’s destiny is not of our own choosing. We did not seek, nor did we provoke an assault on our freedom and our way of life. We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people’s strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arrive… Every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars. God bless their memory. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

A clip of the entire scene is available on YouTube. If you’ve got two minutes, I highly suggest you give it a look. The image/sound quality isn’t great, but I think it serves the purpose.